Sharing the stage at the unveiling of the first phase of the Rs 17,000-crore National Dairy Plan at the National Dairy Development Board at Anand today, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi used the platform to criticise the UPA government’s policies.
Modi, who was invited as the chief guest, said the Centre’s meat export policy contradicted the provisions of the National Dairy Plan which intends to bring in a second milk revolution in 14 states, including Gujarat.
“The milk revolution is in complete contradiction to UPA government’s pink revolution which encourages export of meat,” said Modi, adding that if meat export is encouraged, even livestock that can produce milk will be affected.
He also brought up the issue of cows being smuggled to Bangladesh and criticised the UPA government for the lack of nutrition in the feed provided to livestock.
Pawar hit out at the government for banning cotton exports.
“Be it cotton, milk or sugar, I feel the farmers should have a right to get the best prices. I do not feel that a ban on cotton exports is right. I still feel that 50 lakh bales can easily be exported, There is need to make some changes in the policy and I expect some changes to be made in the next 8-10 days,” he said.
“This year we have exported 110 lakh bales of cotton. Even now 30 per cent cotton stocks are still lying with the farmers. I do not see any demand coming from the textile industry. This switch-on, switch-off policy followed by the government will bring disrepute to the country in the international market,” he said.
“Gujarat and Maharashtra never thought differently. Whenever he (Modi) faces a problem, he can pick up the phone and just call me,” said Pawar, adding that Gujarat is the only state that has “financially viable” co-operatives. He also praised Gujarat for providing the best prices to milk producers.
However, while addressing a press conference later, Pawar said he was “surprised” at Modi’s comment on meat exports. “The meat export policy has been in existence for the last 15 years. There has been no major amendment to this policy during the UPA regime. There is a total ban on cow meat so I am surprised why he made such a comment,” said Pawar.
The six-year dairy plan with an outlay of Rs 2,242 crore will be implemented in 14 major milk